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Episode Info

Episode Info:

Do you find it difficult to stay organized with all of the moving parts of teaching? We hear you, we struggle with this too!

That’s why we invited Kelly Jackson from The Simply Organized Teacher on the podcast to chat everything organization and how it can help us simplify our lives.

From your desk, to planning for a sub, to doing stations, to student papers, to file folders, to student jobs in the classroom… You’ll know exactly how to organize your classroom by the end of this episode!

Scroll to the bottom of this page to tune in now and to check out the show notes!

Dive into this topic even further as we’ve asked Kelly Jackson, Classroom Organization and Management Coach, to write a guest blog post as well! Enjoy!

With calm and appreciation,

Kailey & Josianne

Dive deeper into this topic by listening to the following episode of The Balanced Educator Podcast:

Share this post on Pinterest to help other educators find more calm, joy and balance in their lives too!

Show Notes:

Find the Simply Organized Teacher’s resources here: Year End Packing List, Classroom Jobs, Paper Organization, Kickstart Course & Free Resource Library!

I am a firm believer in organized classrooms. Organized classrooms lead to a clearer headspace for teachers and less visual stimulation (umm… distraction!) for those kiddos. Here are six ways to simplify classroom organization and establish balance in your classroom!

Stock Photography provided by Jana Bishop

Except first I should probably introduce myself, huh?

I am Kelly! Classroom Organization and Management Coach over at The Simply Organized Teacher. I write about best practices for organizing and managing your classroom well.

I also host a podcast called Simply Teach and that is exactly how I met Kailey and Josianne! They were gracious enough to record an episode for my podcast and I loved getting to know what these girls are doing and their mission behind it!

6 Ways to Simplify Classroom Organization

The six ideas I am about to share here are all about setting up routines for your day, your weeks, and your year. Some of these ideas might be time heavy on the front end but they will be well worth your investment during the year when things are hectic.

1. Set Up Your Classroom in an Organized Process

If you start out your year with an organized classroom then you are setting yourself up for success! I recommend following a system to set up your classroom so you can be sure you are doing so in an organized way!

Here is a quick overview of the steps

  1. Organize Your Things at Home
  2. Layout Your Classroom (big furniture and important areas first!)
  3. Organize Your Cabinets
  4. Set up Stations and Smaller Areas in your Classroom
  5. Decorate Your Classroom

My number one rule for an organized classroom is to give everything a “home.” If everything has a home, then you know exactly what to do with whatever item you need to put away.

Taking the time at the beginning of the year to figure out homes for everything will help you out in the long run!

2. Organize Your Cabinets

Step three from above says organize your cabinets, but make sure to do it in an intentional way as this step is SO crucial! I like to say that your cabinets are the heartbeat of your classroom.

If you can take the time to organize your cabinets now then you are saving yourself A LOT of time in the future looking for things or trying to find homes for things.

A few tips for organizing your cabinets:

3. Create a Year at a Glance

A Year at a Glance allows you to map out your whole year and with a birds eye view. This way, when it comes to lesson planning during the school year you already know where your going (and maybe even some ideas of activities you want to do).

All you have to do when you lesson plan is map out the specifics of when and how you will teach the concept, instead of looking through your standards to figure out what comes next.

4. Use a Lesson Planning Format

Speaking of planning for the year, you should also create a routine for planning for each week and day. I can’t stress this one enough!

I am pretty passionate about the difference between lesson planning and calendaring but essentially lesson planning is digging into the standards, mapping them out, figuring out what vocabulary is needed, how you will modify for each group of students.

Calendaring is deciding (and writing down) what days you will teach what.

My favorite way to plan is by unit with my team. We would go unit by unit using this format right below. We would go deep into the standards and everyone would share their ideas.

Then when it came time to calendaring we would each do that on our own to accommodate our specific schedules and our students.

You can get your copy of the lesson planning guide my team used right here in The Organizer’s Bin.

After I wrote out my plans on Thursday during my planning period I made a list for all the resources I needed for the upcoming week. I spent Friday making copies, creating anchor charts, and organizing my lesson plan materials for the following week.

5. Create a Routine for Organizing Papers

There are SO many papers we have as teachers. Turned in papers, graded papers, papers to be redone, notes from the office, notes from home. The list could go on!

I perfected my paper organization routine (at least for dealing with papers from kids!) and the picture below is the process each paper “goes through.”

  1. Lesson Plan Materials are organized in plastic drawers.
  2. Students turn in papers in turn in baskets. “Paper Organizer” organizes paper at the end of the day and puts them on my desk
  3. Papers go into my grading file folder to grade
  4. Missing Work or To Be Corrected? I place it in the file in picture 5 and add a sticky note to the students number on the missing work chart in picture 4.
  5. Students can see easily what they need to work on and get it from the missing work crate
  6. Once papers are graded I put them in their class tray and the “Mail Person” puts papers in each students “mail box” (hanging file folder in the mail box tub).
6. Be Intentional About the New School Year

The biggest thing I can encourage you to do over summer is to balance resting and relaxing with prepping for the new school year.

You have worked REALLY hard all school year long so you need to give yourself time to hang out by the pool, read a good book or two, and scan Pinterest for at home projects instead of lesson plan ideas.

However, with all the time you have now, I also recommend taking a couple days a week (even if just for a couple of hours) to start prepping things for the new year.

This summer I am launching my course, Kickstart Your School Year- A Teacher’s Guide to Organizing and Planning for the New School Year!

I am SO excited about the Kickstart Course because I know how overwhelming the new year can be. But there is a way to take some of that stress away!

The course will walk you through how to create management plans, a detailed guide to setting up your classroom, ideas and plans for the first few days and week of school, and A LOT MORE!

Sign up here to be notified when it launches! I’d love to have you!

More Organization Tips!

I have a few more tips I wanted to share with you for how I kept my classroom organized!

Hide Things Under Your Utable

This tip is short and simple. Use your utable (or any desk) and hide things under there with fabric wrapped around the front!

(Just be sure to organize the things under your desk so you can easily find them!)

Day of Week Themes

Decide what your focus will be each day of the week during your before school, conference, and after school time.

Set Time Limits

This step is SO crucial! Kailey and Josianne do an amazing job of encouraging teachers to practice mindfulness and balance and in turn teach that to your kids.

One way to practice balance is by setting boundaries for yourself. Decide days you will stay late and days you will leave on time. (Try to have more days you leave on time than stay late!)

Then set timers 5-10 minutes before your leaving time for each day of the week. And stick to it! The quickest way to teacher burn out is by not honoring your time and spending too much of it at school!

Daily Helper and Team Captain

I love the idea of a daily helper and team captain.

The daily helper was one student per day and their role was to run errands for me, pass out papers, basically do anything I needed help with!

The team captain was usually four students per day because I had four tables in my classroom. This student was responsible for getting team materials, gathering papers and bringing them to me, and other things of that sort.

I am grateful for the work Kailey and Josianne are doing to support teachers. Our jobs are so much more than teaching the standards and the skills the Educalme gals are giving us are so important!

My hope is these ways to simplify classroom organization help you restore balance in your classroom by creating organized spaces that allow you to breathe a little easier!

I’d love to interact with you more! You can come find me on Instagram or join my email list where I email classroom tips and ideas out each week!

Until next time,

If you found this post useful, simply click the “Pin It” button and pin it to one of your boards so you have it and other teachers can find it!

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